Public Eye

No sympathy for those who received fat commissions

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 10 July, 2013, 3:54am

Here is Public Eye's stern warning to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying: don't you dare. Do not sympathise even for a second with the bloodsuckers who marched on Sunday to demand the government ends its property market cooling measures. The thousands of real estate agents and their bosses who protested say the measures have hurt them. They are the same leeches who put their greed above the people's interests when the market was red hot. They talked up prices to make fatter commissions. They harassed people in shopping malls and streets, pressuring them to buy flats. They sucked up to rich mainlanders who paid with cash. Ordinary Hongkongers were priced out of the market while the leeches enriched themselves. And now they want sympathy? Go to hell! Real estate agency bosses say cooling measures have failed to bring down prices but have depressed sales. That's true, but the measures have at least halted the ridiculous price rises. Lifting the measures now will see a swift return to the lunatic days when speculators and frenzied buyers drove the market to preposterous levels. Don't blame today's stagnant market on the cooling measures. Blame greedy developers and other sellers who refuse to lower their outrageous asking prices. If anything, the government should impose even tougher measures to signal its firmness. That will tame their greed.


So what are we going to do with the rubbish?

What does it take to get it through to our numbskull legislators that if you produce waste, you have to get rid of it somehow? No society on earth is able to do one without the other. You need either landfills or incinerators, or both. But our lawmakers are too blinded by self-interest to see that. They fear losing votes from "not in my backyard" communities if they approve funds to extend landfills or build incinerators. They have already rejected the Tseung Kwan O landfill extension. And they have now sounded the death knell for the extension in Tuen Mun. They have also opposed funding an incinerator. They want the government to study waste reduction at source. Are they too thick to understand that recycling is not a solution? You still need dumps or incinerators. Besides, Hongkongers are too spoilt to take waste reduction seriously. Remember the public opposition to something as simple as idling engines, energy-saving light bulbs, and reducing bus routes to fight air pollution?


Shelter Snowden and teach the bullies a lesson

Public Eye had been of two minds about US whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Is he a crusader for privacy rights who dared expose the Big Brother excesses of US cyber-spying? Or is he a publicity-seeker who cared little that his revelations most likely tipped off terrorists? But we are no longer of two minds, thanks to Europe's nauseatingly arrogant treatment of Bolivian President Evo Morales. Public Eye implores Morales and other like-minded leaders to stop dawdling and charter a plane to fly Snowden to a safe haven from Moscow airport's transit area. This will send a message to remind the West that its bullying days are long gone. France, Spain, Italy and Portugal behaved as if they were still imperial powers when they shut their airspace to Morales while on his way home from Russia on suspicion that Snowden was on board. He had to suffer the humiliation of being grounded in Austria while officials searched his plane. Such western heavy-handedness cannot go unchallenged. The rest of the world needs to knock it into the heads of European leaders that the global power balance had long shifted. The only way to do that is to give them the finger and knee them where it hurts. Morales can do that by flying Snowden to a sanctuary. Neither the US nor Europe will dare shoot the plane.

Michael Chugani is a columnist and TV show host.